Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Author(s): Mary Roach

World History

An oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For 2,000 years, cadavers-some willingly, some unwittingly-have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested France's first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure-from heart transplants to gender reassignment surgery-cadavers have been there alongside surgeons, making history in their quiet way.In this fascinating, ennobling account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries-from the anatomy labs and human-sourced pharmacies of medieval and nineteenth-century Europe to a human decay research facility in Tennessee, to a plastic surgery practice lab, to a Scandinavian funeral directors' conference on human composting. In her droll, inimitable voice, Roach tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.


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Rowan writes: If you donated your body to science, would you imagine that it would end up as practice material for comsetic surgeons? In Stiff, Mary Roach confronts mortality - specifically, mortal remains - with an inquiring spirit and more than a dash of black humour. From crash testing and weapons experimentation to forensics and medicinal uses, Roach leaves no (head)stone unturned.

Mary Roach is a journalist. She has written for Salon, Wired, GQ, Discover, Vogue and the New York Times Magazine. This is her first book.

General Fields

  • : 9780141007458
  • : Penguin Books
  • : Penguin Books
  • : 0.238
  • : July 2004
  • : 198mm X 129mm X 17mm
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Mary Roach
  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 611
  • : very good
  • : 304
  • : Popular science; Anatomy